Trail To The Chief: The 2016 State Of The Race Edition

The 2016 State of the Race Edition

It’s spring, and it's time for the quadrennial launching of presidential campaigns.

“Launching” used to be exclusively a live theatrical moment, akin to smashing a bottle of Dom Perignon against a battleship or raising the curtain on a one-man (or one-woman) Broadway play.

But this year the live, in-person launch is merely the excuse for as big a social media supernova as the candidate can muster. The aim is not so much to advertise the candidate to the entire world as to vacuum up contact info about potential supporters, donors and volunteers.

The candidates this year need all the socialization they can get, for different reasons. Hillary Clinton wants to convert all those Obama lists and all that Obama energy into something of her own. The others just desire some momentum any way they can get it.

Right now the GOP field is the intra-party equivalent of entropy: a lukewarm soup generating nothing major. The Republican "leaders," according to the average of public polls updated every 10 seconds by Real Clear Politics, are Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. Each has such minimal support that he probably wouldn’t get any delegates under the GOP convention rules. And it is downhill from there.

On the Democratic side, it remains true that no one is within hallooing distance of Clinton, and if the polls are to be believed -- and, at this point, what else is there? -- poor old Martin O’Malley has regressed to 0.8 percent. That’s not entropy. That’s absolute zero.

1 HILLARY CLINTONOne clear frontrunner exists on either side, and it's the campaign reborn in Brooklyn. But as Jason Zengerle points out, the question that looms is whether Clinton is "any good at running for president." Democrat
2 (TIE) SCOTT WALKER & JEB BUSHThe GOP's pacesetting pair is quite a study in contrasts. In Bush, we have the consummate insider, charging after party elites, focused on politesse. Meanwhile, an insurgent Walker seems to want nothing less than to restage the Reagan Revolution. Republican
3 (TIE) TED CRUZ, RAND PAUL, MIKE HUCKABEE & BEN CARSONLagging slightly behind the leaders is this foursome -- Real Clear Politics' numbers had each enjoying a very specific 8.7 percent of the GOP primary electorate. Will the early starts for Cruz and Paul help them pull ahead? Republican
4 (TIE) JOE BIDEN & ELIZABETH WARRENWhen polled, Democratic primary voters pick these two as their favorites to be waiting in the wings if Clinton falters. Problem is, there's only maybe half of a campaign between the two of them. Democrat
5 (TIE) CHRIS CHRISTIE & MARCO RUBIOGood on paper; still on paper. Republican
6 BERNIE SANDERSDon’t forget about Bernie Sanders, we guess? Independent Socialist Democrat
7 (TIE) RICK PERRY, RICK SANTORUM, BOBBY JINDAL & JOHN KASICHHere we have the GOP's "left behind" quartet, on any given day dividing up about 5 percent of the affections of primary poll respondents. The question is: Who's got some lift left? (The surprising answer may be: John Kasich.) Republican
8 (TIE) JIM WEBB & MARTIN O'MALLEYWill the moment ever come for these two determined Democrats? Right now, each is struggling to secure 1 percent in the polls. Democrat

Poll numbers were pulled from Real Clear Politics on Monday evening. Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press



Potential 2016 Presidential Contenders